Christian Living

Spiritual Life

No Need To Hide

There is a striking example of our reaction to our weaknesses in John Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. He tells the story of how he and his wife once traded in their old Volkswagon Super Beetle for their first piece of new furniture: a mauve sofa. The man at the furniture store warned them not to get it when he found out they had small children. “You don’t want a mauve sofa,” he advised. “Get something the color of dirt.”

When a red jelly stain appeared on the sofa, John’s wife lined up the children to find the culprit. Mallory was the first to break. With trembling lips and tear-filled eyes, she said, “Laura did it.” Laura passionately denied it. Then there was silence, for the longest time. No one said a word. John Ortberg knew they wouldn’t, for they had never seen their mother so upset. He knew they wouldn’t because they knew that if they did they would spend eternity in the time-out chair. He knew they wouldn’t because he was the one who put the red jelly stain on the sofa, and he wasn’t saying anything!

There are several lessons in the fourth chapter of Hebrews. One is that we can’t hide who we are or what we’ve done from God. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Knowing myself as well as I do, I could read those words with fear and trepidation. Knowing that my behavior, and even my thoughts and attitudes, are exposed before God is a sobering thought. It means that there is no place to hide.

When God’s Word begins to probe surgically, we are uncomfortable. We discover our weaknesses as the word cuts into us, separating flesh from spirit. We have instinctive reactions. We may isolate ourselves from one another and become insecure and defensive. We may try, unsuccessfully of course, to hide from God. We don’t pray, we don’t want to read our Bibles and we stay away from other believers. Those are neither healthy nor necessary responses. Jesus is described by Hebrews as a High Priest (Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 6:20) who sympathizes with us and invites us to come to Him with our failures.

John Foster’s daughter was listening to the radio in the 1930's when the announcement came that Japanese tanks had invaded Canton, China. She was the only one in the room who wept. To the others Canton was a remote place. She had lived there and knew the friends and neighbors who would suffer at the hands of the Japanese. To her Canton meant a home, a nurse, a school and friends. To her it was a place she loved. The difference was that she had been there.

Jesus has been where we are, but without sin. He invites us to approach Him boldly in our weakness and failure. He is able to sympathize and heal us. His throne is a throne of grace, not condemnation. What a relief to stop hiding and covering up. What joy to find the grace that helps us in our time of need.

Copyright © Wally Odum 2011. Used by permission.

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